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tempe-diablo-stadiumHalf of the Cubs welcome the Indians to Cubs Park, and the other half head out to Tempe to take on the Angels. The latter game is televised out west, so if you’ve got MLB.tv, you can watch.

James McDonald will make his first Spring Training start against the Angels, and Edwin Jackson will start against the Indians.

Interesting lineups today, with Luis Valbuena picking up a start at second base (accommodating Christian Villanueva at third), Mike Olt batting cleanup, Darwin Barney DH’ing rather than playing shortstop, and a Bryant/Baez left side of the infield.

Lineup against the Angels:

  1. Chris Coghlan, LF
  2. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  3. Junior Lake, CF
  4. Mike Olt, DH
  5. Chris Valaika, SS
  6. Casper Wells, RF
  7. Josh Vitters, 1B
  8. John Baker, C
  9. Christian Villanueva, 3B

Lineup against the Indians:

  1. Darwin Barney, DH
  2. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Justin Ruggiano, RF
  5. Ryan Sweeney, CF
  6. Javier Baez, SS
  7. George Kottaras, C
  8. Kris Bryant, 3B
  9. Aaron Cunningham, LF
  • roz

    I’m interested to see this Junior Baez character take some AB’s.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Junior Baez?

      • roz

        Look at the lineups carefully.

  • Sandberg

    Junior Baez can throw the ball as far as he hits it.

    • willis

      Ha, that’s funny. I’m stoked to see this new fella and how he does today.

      • MaxM1908

        Junior Baez is my favorite prospect by far — the exact kind of player we need to overcome 100+ years of futility.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      :)

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Wow…no hope of any plate command…at all.

      Couldn’t we at least give him the middle name of Albert? Give him some hope of having + contact ability…

  • Ron

    Vitters gets a start!

  • Jason P

    I think it’s pretty obvious at this point Vitters is being sent to AAA. He’s barely played corner outfield all spring.

    • section233

      If Vitters’ bat can play at the MLB level, it would be useful to have a guy that can play 1B/3B(in a pinch) and the OF.

    • ssckelley

      Perhaps the Cubs are looking to give as much time as they can to these AAAA players before they start trimming them down. Once they make some cuts perhaps we will see Vitters in the outfield more.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      At this point, the Cubs know how Vitters could handle the OF, it’s just a matter of getting his bat into the game.

      I’d say kelley is hitting on the other part of it. There are some guys who are going to be unemployed in a few days. Gotta get all of the scouting in you can before they are cut loose.

  • Funn Dave

    Darwin Barney DH’ing? Did I read that correctly?

    • Fishin Phil

      Yes, he strikes fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers!

      • FFP

        Opposing pitchers who have not done enough glove work yet fear having that fact exposed?

    • Jim

      Woof.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Almost like they want him to get ABs without taking reps from others in the infield since his defense is about the only thing we know for sure about him. Shocking development indeed!

  • cub4life

    Look at that. Against the Indians or future infield looks to be almost complete…..Wish I could at least watch that game.

  • josh ruiter

    Doug Fister shelved with inflamation…maybe the Tigers knew something we didn’t? Maybe ole Dombrowski fleeced the Nats! Certainly would help out the Shark market if that comes to light that there was concern before that trade regarding Fister’s arm.

  • ssckelley

    Blackout restrictions for a spring training game? JEEZ!

  • Kyle

    Tommy John for the Royals’ Hochevar.

    We’ve had a few guys nicked up, but it so far Arrieta is the only one who is on track to miss Opening Day. Staying healthy is one of the major prerequisites of us having a suprising season, so my optimism grows incrementally each day.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      SMDH. :)

    • Mike Moody

      Wow. With the Smith also out in the Aoki deal, that’s really going put a dent into the bullpen that was so big for them last year. Interested to see if Moore does anything to bolster it.

    • Fishin Phil

      I hope you are using your fist of logic to knock on wood while making those kind of statements.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        I blame Kyle already

        • MightyBear

          I’m still trying to find out if I’m in a parallel universe where Kyle is optimistic. Bizarro world.

          • Edwin

            Give Kyle a good reason, and he’s always optimisitic. Give him a bad reason, and he’ll say so.

  • bonger0493

    Which game is on mlb.tv? Against the angels or Indians?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Angels. That’s what latter means (which sounds like I’m being a jerk, but really I’m not – just offering in case you didn’t know).

      • C. Steadman

        i think you’re a jerk…you followed me on twitter and then unfollowed me…(sarcasm bc still love your work)

      • bonger0493

        I always get latter and former mixed up. Haha it’s all good Brett, thanks.

      • rcleven

        “That’s what latter means”

        MLB Network not covering Cubs-Angles till midnight.
        Now that’s what I call latter.

  • TommyK

    For the record, if Barney ever DHes a regular season game, I quit.

    • ssckelley

      lol, I doubt you will ever have to worry about that. I am sure it is about giving Roberts some reps at 2nd base while getting Barney some at bats.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Tough call…do I watch the Angels game or listen to the Indians game with the more interesting lineup? Haven’t had many opportunities to actually watch baseball so far this spring.

    • Edwin

      Listen to the Indians. Len is doing the play-by-play. Plus most of the time it seems that the camera work in spring training games isn’t as good anyways.

    • ssckelley

      I would choose watching a baseball game anytime over listening to one. Unfortunately the game is blacked out where I am at so all I got is audio. Perhaps mute the TV and watch one while listening to the other?

  • Blackhawks1963

    Barney is DHing to give other guys an opportunity in the infield while getting Barney (a assumed starter) valuable at bats to work on his “hitting.” It does indeed make sense why he’s in the lineup. Let him work on the art of hitting now so there is hope he isn’t hitting .215 as the starting 2nd baseman when June 1st rolls around.

    • Chad

      I really hope that Barney isn’t hitting .215 when June 1 rolls around, and I especially hope that it is not as a member of the cubs.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Always fun to guess the 25 man…here’s my latest

    OF – Schierholz, Sweeney, Ruggiano, Coughlan and Lake (though I don’t know on him)
    IF – Valbuena, Castro, Barney, Rizzo, Murphy and I guess Olt
    C – Castillo, Kottaras

    SP – Samardzija, Wood, Jackson, Hammel, McDonald (sigh…rotation is not good)
    RP – Veres, Strop, Villenueva, Rondon, Cabrera, Russell, Wright,

    DL – Arrieta

    • Javier Bryant

      That’s probably my guess too but Bonifacio instead of Murphy or Coghlan

      • Blackhawks1963

        Doh. Yes, I missesd Bonafacio…replace Murphy for him.

        Coughlan? I think he’s a lock.

        • Noah_I

          I don’t think Coghlan’s a lock at all. If he was a good defender in the outfield, maybe, but he isn’t. I think Murphy and Bonifacio are in, Coghlan is out.

    • Chad

      Replace Olt with Bonifacio and I don’t disagree. Lake will be on the 25 man, unless he gets injured before the season starts.

      As far as relievers. Not sure about Rondon. I agree that you will see Cabrera. You may see Parker though.

    • Voice of Reason

      That is probably the worst 25 man roster in Cub history.

      Renteria should receive manager of the year votes if he keeps it under 95 losses.

      • Edwin

        History is a long time. There were a lot of terrible Cubs teams in the past. This is probably one of the worst in awhile though, at least based on projections.

      • Voice of Reason

        The only above average area would be the bullpen.

        And, when the rotation isn’t good the bullpen gets over used which will mean an above average bullpen becomes average to below average.

        It’s just not going to be a good year. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though.

        • Noah_I

          Our rotation isn’t that bad, though, at least from an ability to log sufficient innings perspective. You don’t look through the rotation and see a bunch of guys who are going to have to be pulled before the end of the 6th inning regularly, and a few guys who could go 7 innings enough to give the bullpen a breather (Samardzija, Jackson, Wood). Our rotation won’t be good, but it won’t be that bad either. It’s the offense that could really be the thing that makes this team struggle, particularly if Rizzo and Castro don’t rebound.

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            Can’t agree with that in Jacksons case though. More often then not he didn’t have a lead after 6 innings, if he even made it that far.

          • Edwin

            I think Wood will take somewhat of a step back this season, so that should affect his innings load.

            I think Shark is above average, Jackson is average, and Wood is slightly below average. The other two spots in the roation will probably end up a revolving door either due to infeffectiveness or injury.

            It’s not the worst starting rotation, but I think it’s probably in the bottom 10.

      • ssckelley

        No way, the Cubs have had worse active rosters than this. This bullpen is much better than last years (at the start of the season) and the only position player I wish was on this team is Soriano and hopefully Ruggiano can fill that void.

    • ssckelley

      I have to agree with you (for once) on Lake, I do not think it is automatic that he makes the team.

      • Chad

        I think Lake has a better shot at starting in Chicago that Olt does. I also think Murphy is a pretty good lock unless someone just blows the doors off the place to remove him from the conversation.

        • ssckelley

          I cannot disagree with you but I do not think it is a given that Lake makes this team either.

  • ssckelley

    Hopefully there will be video on that Bryant homer.

    So now Bryant has had 6 at bats this spring with 2 home runs and 4 K’s. I’ll take it!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha. Season totals: 600 plate appearances, 200 homers, 400 strikeouts. MVP.

      • Chad

        Shoot the dude just hit .333, OBP of .333, and slugged 1.333. Please tell me somebody was able to get on base a head of him so he could have more than 200 RBIs.

        • ssckelley

          Yeah Sweeney was on base for this last homer. So 300 ribbies!

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      I can see the day coming when it’s like the days of Mantle and Maris with those two guys slugging it out for the home run title.

      • ssckelley

        I think both are in contention for the Cactus League title so far. Not sure if anyone has hit 3 yet this spring or not.

        • ssckelley

          Moustakas has 3, but he already has played in 7 games and has 16 at bats.

      • Edwin

        I think the last time two teammates hit 40+ home runs in the same season was 2006, with Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye. That’d be a cool thing for the Cubs to accomplish.

        • ssckelley

          I get giddy when I think about all the power this Cubs lineup could have in near future.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I just saw Jacksons line. Not good at all.

    • ssckelley

      No, he got hit hard but they mentioned on the broadcast he was hitting 95. Perhaps he was not using all his pitches.

      • willis

        Yeah without knowing he could have been on a mostly (if not all) fastball pitch today. Still that line is icky. Still very early.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        If Jackson doesn’t have his slider working then he is toast. 95 MPH is the new norm.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          What if he wasn’t using his slider?

          It’s ST…the only thing we should care about is the players not saying the wrong thing “My arm is sore but I can play through it” or something of the sort.

  • willis

    That Angels game is replaying tonight, midnight central on mlb network. FYI. Sounds like the cubs’ pitching is so far doing well over there.

  • Rudy N

    I’m impressed with Lake’s play at CF so far. He might yet have some vakue!

  • BlameHendry

    come on Olt…

    • cubbiekoolaid2015

      I know he K’d but I actually like what I saw from Olt in that AB. He looked like he was tracking the ball nicely out of the pitchers hand and fouled off a few tough pitches. He just couldn’t hold up on that last pitch. You could tell Olt was at least seeing the ball which is priority number one with him.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Interesting…in the game against the Indians, the Cubs have Vogelbach (1B), Alcantara (2B), Baez (SS), and Bryant (3B) around the infield.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      It’s really a great opportunity for those guys to get a chance to play together. Haven’t heard any news about Baez today.

      • NorthSideIrish

        He’s oh fer at the plate today with one long fly out. He’s seen a good number of pitches though and even the announcers commented on it. He’s also played what sounds like a good shortstop today.

  • candyland07

    thats seems like a nice infield in a year or two?

  • ThatCubsGuy

    Soler isn’t doing any favors for Wada whatsoever.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Vizcaino throwing 96 today…87 on the change…definitely good to hear.

  • diamonddon

    Remember the ’69 Mets? Miracles do happen. Keep the faith Cub fans! It is getting closer.

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